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Pendragon's new executive/artistic director Karen Lordi-Kirkham and managing director David Zwierankin. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Pendragon's new executive/artistic director Karen Lordi-Kirkham and managing director David Zwierankin. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Pendragon's new leadership team

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Last week, Pendragon Theatre co-founders Susan Neal and Bob Pettee shared thoughts about starting Saranac Lake's professional theater group more than 30 years ago. Earlier this year, they moved to Maine and handed over management of the theatre to a new leadership team. Todd Moe talks with Pendragon's new Artistic Director Karen Lordi-Kirkham and Managing Director David Zwierankin.

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Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

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Last week, Pendragon Theatre co-founders Susan Neal and Bob Pettee shared thoughts about starting Saranac Lake's professional theater group more than 30 years ago. Earlier this year, they moved to Maine and handed over management of the theatre to a new leadership team. Todd Moe talks with Pendragon's new Artistic Director Karen Lordi-Kirkham and Managing Director David Zwierankin.

Although the founders have stepped down from leadership roles, the new artistic director, Karen Lordi-Kirkham, is certainly no unfamiliar face at the Pendragon, having contributed to productions as a director in the past.

A long time theater enthusiast, Karen remembers attending her first Pendragon show at the age of six. She fondly recalls summering in Long Lake in her childhood and admiring the work of Pendragon pioneers Susan Neal and Bob Pettee during summer productions. Since then her passion for theatre has developed into a career. Now, after years of working with the Pendragon staff during the summer, Bob and Susan asked her to take over from them.

She says she has always dreamed of running a theater, and was eager to take the reins of the Pendragon, a place to which she already has a strong connection. She has directed several productions at the Pendragon under the supervision of Susan and Bob, but the opportunity to serve as the new artistic director is a departure from her past roles. Although she will bring a fresh perspective and slightly different artistic style to upcoming productions, Karen says she mostly aims to maintain the successful formula established by her mentors and predecessors.

Joining Karen as Managing Director will be David Zwierankin, who will handle the day-to-day responsibilities of running the theater and house from the business end. He admits that handling this end and dealing with the numbers will be a challenge for him, but that he is very much looking forward to the opportunity to interact with patrons and donors through what he calls “sidewalk politics.” David studied theater under Susan Neal during his time at SUNY Potsdam and is also a long-time admirer of Pendragon productions.

This 33rd summer season at Pendragon, Karen will be directing A Street Car Named Desire, which opens next week. Additional productions this season include Doubt: A Parable, and The Complete World of Sports.

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